Wales won the Six Nations tournament thanks to point difference and a massive win on the final day of the tournament over England, but that still isn’t enough, despite winning the title for the second consecutive time (being the first side to retain the trophy since France from six years ago, to climb too high on the all-time Six Nations standings.
For Wales, it’s their fourth time as Six Nations winner since the competition moved to that format by adding Italy in 2000, tied with England for second, behind France with 5 wins, although France had a terrible 2013 campaign, finishing last with a win and a draw after losing the first three matches. Ireland finished with the same record in their worst finish ever since the tournament became a six team competition.
Italy & Scotland? The Italian won two matches for only the second time, finishing fourth in the table for the second time as well. Scotland, with two wins and three losses, finished third, their highest finish since 2006, and tied for their best Six Nations finish.
To calculate who has done the best over the last 14 tournaments, we used a points system, not based on the nation’s records every year. We gave the winner of the competition 7 points if they won it on their record and not on scoring margin, and 6 points if they were tied in points with the second place. Second place gets 5 points, third gets 4 and on and on, with the last team getting 1 point, or 0, if they finished the tournament with 5 defeats.
While England have won the tournament less times than France, they have been arguably the most consistent side in the tournament over the years. They’ve finished first or second over the last three, with their loss to Wales being what prevented them from winning the tournament in 2012 & 2013, winning it in 2011. They’ve never finished below fourth, which happened in the disappointing post-RWC title seasons.
France have had their bad periods, the last couple of seasons, maybe World Cup hangovers and some problem in commitment and coaching being the problem, because the talent is there. They finished last for the first time in Six Nations history, but they do have a fifth place finish from 2001 as well, countering their knack of winning the tournament with a Grand Slam, happening three times.
Ireland seemed to be on the decline, as the lack of depth was showcased more than ever before in 2013. After two consecutive third place finishes (2011 & 2012), 2013 was rock bottom for them since the format change, finishing fifth for the first time ever, avoiding sixth place thanks to their margins.
Wales, despite two consecutive titles, are a team of contrasts – it’s either win it all or bust for them, as besides their four tournament titles (three of them Grand Slams), they’ve never finishes second or third – it’s always fifth and fourth for them, and even a terrible wooden spoon in 2003, as they got swept by everyone.
Scotland had their best finish, third, in seven years, winning two matches (against Ireland and Italy) in 2013. While there isn’t too much of a change to be hopeful about, not finishing in the bottom two, which has happened 8 times in 14 tournaments, is something to celebrate. Even more for Italy, finding themselves out of the bottom two, and with two wins in one campaign, for only the second time in tournament history.